Red Flower.

Acrylic on paper.

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Learning English in a creative environment

I am an artist / art teacher and Native English EFL /ESOL/ EAL /TEFL teacher. If your child is creative and wants to learn English alongside art in a creative environment, look no further. Today my Belarusian student and I enjoyed English lessons in the morning and a clay workshop in the afternoon. Below are some photos of some of my students I have taught this summer. Also some photos of the room and some nearby views, day trips and walks in coastal East Sussex. Cost is £600 GBP per week per person, including 15 hours of English tuition, usually 3 hours each morning, all meals, two afternoon trips to local sights, and one full day trip to London, your own huge room with double bed and beautiful garden and arts and crafts activities. The house is situated on a private lane near the cliff top with incredibly beautiful coastal walks and beaches. Adult learners welcome. I also teach business English at all levels.

Email: alicejulietmason@gmail.com.

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Gaia and the Elements

In my etsy shop:

All paintings on this blog are my copyright.  Do not use without permission or payment.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/705673508/gaia-and-the-elements?ref=shop_home_active_1

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Small Acts of Liberation

SMALL ACTS OF LIBERATION.  Alain de Botton

It’s not necessarily a well-flagged problem: we tend to situate the risks to our happiness elsewhere – but for a proportion of us, the greatest obstacle to our flourishing lies in a high and persistent degree of inhibition. We are, in a range of areas, painfully hesitant about saying what we deeply want, appreciating where we are talented and pursuing our objectives in the world with a decent amount of tenacity, strategy and courage. It can look as if we might be simply well-mannered and quiet but we are something more pernicious and self-harming: ashamed of what we seek and, in the largest sense, of who we are.

Part of the reason we stay meek for too long is that we imagine a more forthright life in unhelpfully dramatic terms. We picture it involving radical large-scale moves and major upsets of people we care about, and therefore understandably withdraw from the prospect of unleashing offence and chaos. But this isn’t what directness invariably has to mean. We could come to view the business of speaking up in more modest terms, as an evolution rather than a revolution; and go in for a few confidence-building measures that nevertheless stand a chance of slowly wearing away at our unhelpful timidity.

We might consider a range of everyday moves that point the way to a more liberated way of living.

1. Taking pleasure in our accomplishments
The timid tend to live – paradoxically – in terror of being accused of boasting. So whatever they have accomplished, they take great care to hide. If something has gone well, they publicly put it down to luck and privately assume that far worse is soon to come. But there might be an opportunity, every now and then, to acknowledge what has gone well. One might try, on occasion, to stop putting oneself down and open up about a success one has been involved in. It could feel as dangerous as shoplifting, yet there might be genuine benefit in taking the measure of, and a little pride in, one’s strengths and virtues.

2. Walk into rather than away from a fear
We are used to taking our fears as reliable alarm bells. If we don’t want to go to the party, it must be because gatherings are dangerous. If we don’t want to start a new initiative, it must be because the risk is untenable. But some alarms may be going off for no good reason at all, simply because we’ve grown up feeling suspicious of ourselves. Fear, which is in principle there to help us take care of our interests, may be shielding us from being properly alive. We might – at selected points – need to hear an alarm, ignore it completely and walk on.

3. Cause problems for someone else
Our impulse is always to accommodate other people. We laugh at their jokes, go along with their plans and try never to ruffle their feathers. But inside, we may also be very angry, have a legitimate grievance and something important we need to say or do that bucks the trend. And therefore, we could at moments radically inconvenience someone, not to be bloody minded, but because there is an important principle at stake which we don’t this time want to give up on. We might learn the subtle art of being, where it really counts, a pain.

4. Flirt
To be inhibited is to assume that it would be unwelcome and a little shocking to show anyone else that we liked them and might be likeable in turn. We would never dare to pay compliments or allow ourselves to be overt in our enthusiasms. After all, other people always have partners; we’re never their type and we’re anyway a bit disgusting. Except that none of that may be remotely true. There is a loneliness in almost everyone that we may be able to provide a hugely fitting answer to.

5. Stay in bed a bit longer
We are terrified of being deemed lazy and defend ourselves against feelings of unworthiness through heroic work schedules and iron self-discipline. It feels more bearable to be permanently busy and in pain. But we might dare to push against our masochism and try, in a minor way, to try out something we’ve never dared: a bit of insurrection. We might go home early or take a morning off, we might accept that a bit of self-indulgence, a bit of not-caring-what-they-will-say, belongs within the economy of any well-lived life.

6. Treat yourself
Part of our innate shame is likely to manifest itself in an inner austerity. It might always feel better to sidestep pleasure but we might, in the name of mental health, throw the habit of a lifetime away and sometimes, without guilt, simply daydream for a few hours, buy ourselves an expensive piece of clothing (preferably in a bold colour) or step into a bakery and ask for a large slice of blueberry cake or a Portuguese custard tart (or two).

7. You are (a bit) amazing
You are – whatever your flaws, which we’ve heard quite enough about already – part of cosmic creation, an extraordinarily original and vibrant witness to the universe, partaking of the same sort of biological matter that wrote Paradise Lost and sent rockets to Jupiter – and possessed of your own unique moments of lyricism, insight and brilliance.

A deeply heretical set of thoughts rears its head: perhaps you deserve to be here. Perhaps you are not inherently shameful. Perhaps you are allowed love and, every now and then, to be loved in return. Perhaps you can be at ease with who you are, with what you want and with all the mistakes and embarrassments you have (like all of us) generated. Perhaps no one would complain if you took a few baby steps to freedom.

 

the doves

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Small Acts of Liberation

It’s not necessarily a well-flagged problem: we tend to situate the risks to our happiness elsewhere – but for a proportion of us, the greatest obstacle to our flourishing lies in a high and persistent degree of inhibition. We are, in a range of areas, painfully hesitant about saying what we deeply want, appreciating where we are talented and pursuing our objectives in the world with a decent amount of tenacity, strategy and courage. It can look as if we might be simply well-mannered and quiet but we are something more pernicious and self-harming: ashamed of what we seek and, in the largest sense, of who we are.

Part of the reason we stay meek for too long is that we imagine a more forthright life in unhelpfully dramatic terms. We picture it involving radical large-scale moves and major upsets of people we care about, and therefore understandably withdraw from the prospect of unleashing offence and chaos. But this isn’t what directness invariably has to mean. We could come to view the business of speaking up in more modest terms, as an evolution rather than a revolution; and go in for a few confidence-building measures that nevertheless stand a chance of slowly wearing away at our unhelpful timidity.

We might consider a range of everyday moves that point the way to a more liberated way of living.

1. Taking pleasure in our accomplishments
The timid tend to live – paradoxically – in terror of being accused of boasting. So whatever they have accomplished, they take great care to hide. If something has gone well, they publicly put it down to luck and privately assume that far worse is soon to come. But there might be an opportunity, every now and then, to acknowledge what has gone well. One might try, on occasion, to stop putting oneself down and open up about a success one has been involved in. It could feel as dangerous as shoplifting, yet there might be genuine benefit in taking the measure of, and a little pride in, one’s strengths and virtues.

2. Walk into rather than away from a fear
We are used to taking our fears as reliable alarm bells. If we don’t want to go to the party, it must be because gatherings are dangerous. If we don’t want to start a new initiative, it must be because the risk is untenable. But some alarms may be going off for no good reason at all, simply because we’ve grown up feeling suspicious of ourselves. Fear, which is in principle there to help us take care of our interests, may be shielding us from being properly alive. We might – at selected points – need to hear an alarm, ignore it completely and walk on.

3. Cause problems for someone else
Our impulse is always to accommodate other people. We laugh at their jokes, go along with their plans and try never to ruffle their feathers. But inside, we may also be very angry, have a legitimate grievance and something important we need to say or do that bucks the trend. And therefore, we could at moments radically inconvenience someone, not to be bloody minded, but because there is an important principle at stake which we don’t this time want to give up on. We might learn the subtle art of being, where it really counts, a pain.

4. Flirt
To be inhibited is to assume that it would be unwelcome and a little shocking to show anyone else that we liked them and might be likeable in turn. We would never dare to pay compliments or allow ourselves to be overt in our enthusiasms. After all, other people always have partners; we’re never their type. Except that none of that may be remotely true. There is a loneliness in almost everyone that we may be able to provide a hugely fitting answer to.

5. Stay in bed a bit longer
We are terrified of being deemed lazy and defend ourselves against feelings of unworthiness through heroic work schedules and iron self-discipline. It feels more bearable to be permanently busy and in pain. But we might dare to push against our masochism and try, in a minor way, to try out something we’ve never dared: a bit of insurrection. We might go home early or take a morning off, we might accept that a bit of self-indulgence, a bit of not-caring-what-they-will-say, belongs within the economy of any well-lived life.

6. Treat yourself
Part of our innate shame is likely to manifest itself in an inner austerity. It might always feel better to sidestep pleasure but we might, in the name of mental health, throw the habit of a lifetime away and sometimes, without guilt, simply daydream for a few hours, buy ourselves an expensive piece of clothing (preferably in a bold colour) or step into a bakery and ask for a large slice of blueberry cake or a Portuguese custard tart (or two).

7. You are (a bit) amazing
You are – whatever your flaws, which we’ve heard quite enough about already – part of cosmic creation, an extraordinarily original and vibrant witness to the universe, partaking of the same sort of biological matter that wrote Paradise Lost and sent rockets to Jupiter – and possessed of your own unique moments of lyricism, insight and brilliance.

A deeply heretical set of thoughts rears its head: perhaps you deserve to be here. Perhaps you are not inherently shameful. Perhaps you are allowed love and, every now and then, to be loved in return. Perhaps you can be at ease with who you are, with what you want and with all the mistakes and embarrassments you have (like all of us) generated. Perhaps no one would complain if you took a few baby steps to freedom.

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Thought for the day

“Everyone experiences pain and most suffer from patterns that continue to make life miserable unless something or someone intervenes. The pain we feel comes from the cross-wise energies that keep curving back and cancelling the wise self and the good word that wait to be expressed from within us. Persistent pain is usually the indication that we have become trapped in a life too small for our true nature. That is the usual human fate and the common predicament where the little-self obscures the greater nature behind it. Until people realize what harms them and limits them from within, they are unlikely to call out for someone to help stop the pain. The remedy may be nearby, but until the pain becomes unbearable most remain caught in the agony of one form or another of self-inflicted wounds. As Rumi said, ‘The cure for the pain is in the pain.’”

– Michael Meade, “Fate and Destiny”

 

Painting ‘The Red Veil’ by me.

Athena

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Blue Note

Blue Note. Latest painting inspired by Blue Note Records.

In my etsy shop.  Link here:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/716036819/blue-note?ref=shop_home_active_1

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Emma

Fields with sheep in Wittersham

Gardens all misty wet with rain

Her high-ceilinged house, with wooden sweeping bannisters, objets d’art, Picasso’s wife Jacqueline’s jacket, paintings, enamelled pictures and bowls, red wine at dinners, her artist parents with cigarettes and stories. Her older brothers.

Louis, so handsome, sang songs occasionally alluding to me.

Emma. Our friendship. Van Morrison on vinyl. An old typewriter, our youth, our music, our art.

We danced with our long skirts flying. Smoked Old Holborn roll ups with licorice papers.

We would draw each other. Not realising how young we were. Her cheekbones peach-like and long tangled hair, torn vintage lace blouses. Velvets, patchouli and henna.

We would sing I wanna be strong, I wanna laugh a lot.

We laughed alot. We drew a lot. We were the best of friends. We once chased a dancing paper bag along the sea front, enlivened by the wind, excited by its movement and energy, which matched our own.

Last year we met again. We said Time doesn’t exist. Her poise , mystery and beauty still there. Me the more gregarious, drew her out. She said I had always been her most restless friend. I said I still was. So full of longing. Motherhood makes you stay in one place but I still have plans.  She never had children, but she has a blue Staffie and loving man.

People are these containers of such depth and resonance, energetically like no other. Each one with their own imprint on your soul. Emma, Astral Weeks always makes me think of you and those summer days and the fields, the garden, the sheep, the granary, the Ewe and Lamb, Stone in Oxney, Ebony.

The day Thelonius Monk died you painted about it. You also made a glorious etching called Tea with Alice. I wish I had looked after it but moved around so much, I lost it along the way.

We lived in London together too, and your parents moved to mountain Spain, but it’s those green days of youth, and the flat fields and dark country lanes, with no lamplight on the walks home, I will always carry in my treasure of memories.

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Lesson Plan EFL

Lesson plans using art to prompt discussion and imaginative thinking.

1. IMAGINE YOU ARE IN THE PAINTING- LESSON PLAN

2. Lesson aim: Using classic paintings to get my student talking, using descriptive vocabulary- adjectives, vocabulary expansion- similes.

Expressing opinion,

“I think the picture is…”

“In my opinion, the picture looks….”

Grammar – Present Simple and Continuous. “In this picture I can see a man sitting in front of a table. The picture is very beautiful…”

Imaginary language- 2nd conditional, “If I were in this picture I would….

Prediction language , “I think the man is going to…”

3. Give student a print of/ or show image using laptop or IPad :

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,”

Monet’s “Water Lilies”

Munch’s “The Scream” for this activity.

4. Student looks at paintings one by one and writes 10 adjectives to describe each painting. -5 MINS

5. Discuss with teacher why he chose the adjectives to describe the painting. 5 MINS.

6. Find synonyms- using English – English dictionary -5 MINS

7. Ask students what their opinion of the picture is. Check they understand meaning of opinion and elicit from them how they can express their opinion, using “In my opinion.” “ I believe that..” “ in my view the picture shows…” etc. -5 MINS.

8. Ask student to imagine they are in the painting. Direct them to talk about why they are there and what they see. Prompt them by asking questions, “What would you do if you were in this picture?” -5 MINS

9. Plenary -Student writes a short story about the painting and what they think will happen next. – Prediction language / Future tenses.

Check student understands how to use future tenses for prediction by asking, “What do you think is going to happen next? “ To elicit, “I think he is going to …”

 

 

2. Interview the Subject.

(Extra activity if time- 20 mins.)

Practice of asking questions, doing interviews, writing and using reported speech.

1. Student will be looking at a portrait and interviewing the person painted in it. You will need one portrait for each person. You might consider using the “Mona Lisa” or other any other classic portraits.

2. Before the activity, brainstorm a list of interview questions with your student.

3. Show portrait to your students.

4. Tell student to imagine that they are interviewing the person in the painting. Choosing five to ten interview questions and write down a fictitious interview between them and the person in the painting.

5. Student imagines how their subject would answer the questions and write those questions down.

As they write, they should use either direct quotations or reported speech. In doing so, they will get practice asking questions, doing interviews, writing and using reported speech.

Mona Lisa

 

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Le Rêve

In my etsy shop.  https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/712050451/le-reve?ref=shop_home_active_1

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